It is interesting to note how far people will go to gain advanced education, particularly in this case, an LLM degree. Even more interesting is how a High Court in India allowed such endeavor despite the circumstances. The High Court of Delhi has recently granted Santosh Kumar Singh, who is a convict serving a prison life term for rape and murder, a four-day parole to take his LLM examination to complete one branch of his LLM degree.
As a background, Singh was charged in 1996 for the rape and murder of 25-year old Priyadarshini Mattoo, a law student. At the time, Singh was also a law student of Delhi University. In 1999, the trial court acquitted him of the alleged offenses. However, in 2006, the Delhi High Court reversed the decision and held him guilty. He was sentenced to death. On appeal in 2010, the Supreme Court upheld the High Court's decision but reduced the sentence to life imprisonment.
While in prison, Singh finished his LLB and took up his two-year LLM program starting 2012. By 2014, he finished his first branch of LLM and began pursuing another branch. To be awarded an LLM degree, Singh need to take and pass the LLM exam scheduled May 22. This led to Singh's attempt to avail parole and furlough to enable him to take the LLM examination.
After much deliberations, verification and opposition, the Delhi High Court's Justice Mukta Gupta granted Singh a four-day parole to take the exams. Singh was also imposed a personal bond of Rs 2,000 and a surety of identical amount. One reason that led to the court's decision to allow him the parole may be Singh's prior record. He was previously granted a longer parole in connection with his course. He came back to prison afterwards.
What is more important to the courts however, is not to stop any of the prisoners from studying. In the Singh case, the court emphasized that the education system is encouraged even in prison to allow for positivity in jail. It is expected that by this time, Singh has taken his exam and is back in prison.
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